Spirited Child Update

Wow!  You all gave me such great insight and ideas yesterday in how to deal with Bean and some clues as to maybe why he is acting out.  I think the majority consensus was that this is part of this age (thank goodness) and that being consistent and in communication with him will help us all get through it (thank goodness).  I’m so glad to know we aren’t the only ones riding this struggle bus right now.  Thanks for the encouragement, imaginary friends!

I figured since I updated things on Bean yesterday, I would keep the balance and update things on Gracie, too.  My little spirited wildflower.  

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Gracie has absolutely blossomed in kindergarten.  She loves school and learns quickly.  She is a big reader, and has recently moved up to basic chapter books.  She was really irritated that she was the only one in our family still picking out books in the children’s section of the library, and so she started refusing to read anything until I let her get books from the bigger kids section.  I was actually shocked to find they had a pretty decent collection of simple chapter books and I was even MORE shocked to find that Gracie can actually read some of them!  Right now, she has been reading the “Sophia Mouse” collection and a lot of Junie B. Jones (although, am I the only one who isn’t a fan of the Junie B. series? She misspells and mispronounces words on purpose, but Gracie doesn’t know that, so she starts thinking that’s how words sound!).  

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Behavior-wise, Gracie is worlds different than when she was a spirited toddler.  She has settled down now and instead uses words NONSTOP.  She talks ALL. THE. TIME.  She comes home from school telling me all about her day, all about her friends’ days, all about her school work, all about her homework (which she makes up because she doesn’t have homework – ha!), and then all about Bean’s day.  She tells me when she saw Bean, what he was doing, how he acted and everything he ever said at aftercare… She just goes on and on.  I read somewhere one time that you should pay attention to the things that are important to your young children so that they learn that they can talk to you about what is important to them – and that starting from a young age can help build a relationship of trust for when they are older and the things that are important to them then are much more significant.  I try to remind myself of that when she is going on and on, with her little arms flailing and her face so expressive and dramatic.  She makes me giggle, and sometimes makes my ears hurt.  

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We still have fits of attitude from Gracie from time to time, but more often than not these are tied directly to the amount of sleep she has had.  She gets whiney and cries when she is tired, no matter what is going on.  This morning, she woke up too early and came and crawled in bed with me, half crying/half whining.  

When I asked her what was wrong, she cried, “I don’t want to wear a dress to school today!”  

“Okay,” I said, cuddling up next to her.  “No one said you had to wear a dress today.”  

“I want to wear shorts!” she continued to cry.  

“Okay, sweetie.  You can wear shorts.”  

“Okay,” she cried.  And then she climbed out of bed and went to get dressed.  

When she gets in these moods, we still use water to help snap her out of it.  Sometimes, I suggest she take a bath or a shower, which is always met with cries and hysterics.  She thinks she hates baths and showers, but after 2 minutes in them, she’s a happier person.  Now that it’s warmer outside, we suggest she go swimming and that always works.  She’s in the pool all afternoon these days, which is great because it keeps her happy, healthy, and active.  

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Gracie is still doing gymnastics every week.  She’s getting much better at it (which is a good thing because she started out pretty awful…).  I normally withdraw the kids from activities over the summer, but I think I’m going to let her stay in since she loves it so much.  She’s also still doing Girl Scouts, which is her absolute favorite.  I can’t tell what she loves more – the arts and crafts, having her friends there, or having her Nana as the leader.  No wonder she loves it so much.  It’s all her favorite things!  

Right now, we are fighting Gracie’s inner-16-year-old.  We constantly find lip gloss, gum, and my old iPhone (which isn’t even connected) in her purse that she carries around.  I have to stop myself from cringing when I see her pretend to take selfies.  Heaven help us when she’s a teenager.  

I love that God promises not to give us more than we can handle, and I love even more how he shows that promise through my children.  When we are struggling with one, the other seems to just kind of balance things out.  I just can’t ever remember a time when it wasn’t GRACIE who we were struggling with!  Ha!

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3 Thoughts to “Spirited Child Update”

  1. Mariya

    We used to Lauren to Junie B in the car but decided she was bratty. The library was full of magic tree house books, which were more fun for both kids and adults to listen to (and helped keep the motion sickness away). Right now my 1st grader loves Nancy Drew Clue Crew, Cam Jensen, and Amelia Bedelia.

  2. Elisabeth

    Do you have a secret tip for getting Gracie into the bath without it turning into a war? I have a VERY spirited three year old who also benefits greatly from playing in water. Unfortunately, we never seem to be able to get past the bath resistance phase without a major meltdown happening. Once she’s in, she’s happy, but she gets in a mood and just fights everything. Wondering if you’ve perfected some sort of magical spell that gets your daughter past fighting you.

    1. Katie

      The trick for Gracie is always letting her do it by herself. When she was about your daughter’s age, I would draw the bath and then leave (never going far, though). She could take her time getting herself into the tub and playing, and taking the rush away helped her. She was on her own schedule and could get into the tub in her own little way. Now that she is bigger, she draws her own bath, gets herself in and soaped up, and then she calls me when she’s ready to do her hair so that I can help. I think the independence helped make baths more enjoyable and less of a “chore.” Good luck!

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